Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Some "how-to" tips....

So, you've probably read through my blog, here, and wondered, "Well, how do I put these principles into practice?" How do you practice "intuitive eating"?

Here are some tips to get you started...


What does it feel like to truly be hungry? Do you even know what it should feel like when your stomach is completely empty? Some people feel their stomach growl, some people don't. Some people get irritable and cranky when they're at "0". Every person is different, so "0" / empty is going to feel different for each individual.

A great thing to remember is: "When in doubt, wait it out."

If you aren't sure if you're completely empty, wait another 15-30 minutes and then take another "inventory" ... ask yourself, "Am I hungry now? Have I noticed any signs?" (tummy growl, irritability, etc). If you're hungry, eat! If you're not, wait a little longer. Some people, when first trying to find their "0" point, have gone 72 hours without eating! But, WARNING: to go longer than this is dangerous! Be sure to keep drinking water, and eat something if you've gone quite a while and still can't seem to find it. Eventually you'll recognize what "empty" feels like. :o)


What is it like around you when you're eating? Is it quiet? Is it chaotic? Is your mind on your meal, or is it off somewhere else? Do you read / watch TV while you're eating?

It's important to reduce the number of distractions at meal times so that you can focus on your food, and so that you can eat in a calm environment. For most households with a family, this will be a little tricky. But if you can reduce your number of distractions to a minimal level, you'll be able to get more out of your meal.

When we aren't paying attention to our meal, our body doesn't recognize that we've eaten, and therefore we end up rooting around looking for something to eat shortly after we've had a meal. But, if you sit down and eat in a calm environment, your body will remember, "Oh yeah! I already ate!" :o)

Turn off the T.V. ... put away your current reading material. Meal times are for concentrating on the meal and the people around you.


Same as the last point, if you sit down to eat, your body is more likely to remember, later, that it's already "refueled" and you'll be less likely to snack when you're not hungry.

4. STOP AT "5"

If your body was like a gasoline tank on a car, you know that you need to refuel when you're at "0" / empty. But, you also know that you shouldn't overfill the tank! So, we give you a "hunger scale"....

----------------------- 10 (stuffed)
------------------------- 5 (comfortable)
------------------------ 0 (empty)

What you want to do is make sure that you eat bewteen 0 to 5. If you go over that "5" point, if you eat more than your stomach can actually hold, you're not going to feel that great after your meal. You're going to feel bloated and like you need to lie down.

Finding where you're "comfortable" takes a considerable amount of effort. A lot of people really struggle with this part of "intuitive eating". In a world where you're offered "super-sized" meals, it's hard to know just how much will satisfy you without going over your limit.

At first, it's helpful to try reducing the size of your plate. If you use a salad plate instead of a dinner plate, you'll usually start to see results shortly afterward. The trick is not to fill up your salad plate to overflowing! Don't pile it up a mile-high and think you're eating less ... it doesn't work like that! ;-)

After trying the salad plate for a while, try cutting even that back to half. Fill your plate, if you wish, but scrape half of your portions back into the dishes, and eat half of what you'd originally planned.

Most people are stunned to find out how little food they really *need* to "refuel". But, when you realize that your stomach is basically only the size of a clenched fist, it makes sense that you're not going to be able to fit a whole lot in there without going past a "5".

At "5", you should be able to bend over, after eating, without feeling like your meal is going to come back to haunt you ... you should be able to breathe normally, and you probably won't experience heartburn or indigestion.

And, if you don't get the hang of this step right away, don't panic. Like I've said, it takes quite a while for most people to get the hang of eating less and being satisfied. :o)


Another tricky thing is to pay attention to your food while you're eating. This is tricky because a lot of people don't eat alone. So, you're probably thinking, "Well, am I supposed to be rude and ignore those that are with me in order to pay attention to my food instead?". Nope! You can pay attention to your food *and* your eating companions!

Try this: take a bite of your food, put your fork down, and chew ... pay attention to the taste and texture. Enjoy your meal! Then look up and talk with your eating partners. After a minute, take another bite, and repeat the process. And, voila! You've done it!


Because people are so busy, they usually eat on the run, or gulp 'n go. But, this only adds to our weight problem. Instead, try sitting down at the table, paying attention to your food, and chewing slowly.

Did you know that it takes 20 minutes for your stomach to signal your brain that it's full? That means that, if you scarf down your whole meal in just 5 minutes (as I've been known to frequently do), you take a great risk of flying past your "5" (or point of satisfaction), and stuffing yourself silly before your stomach even realizes what happened! If you eat slowly, and make your meal last at *least* 20 minutes, you'll be better able to find out when you're *truly* satisfied (instead of stuffed), and finding your "5" will be that much easier!

To put this into practice, see Tip #6! ;o)


And lastly, we come to my favorite part of Intuitive Eating ... being able to enjoy what you eat and drink!

Dieters, I'm sure, get sick of eating low-fat / low-cal / low-carb anything ... they eventually will want the *real* thing. And, why not have it? Forget what the media has drilled into your head! God has blessed us with variety for a reason!

You want full-fat cheese in your lasagna? Go ahead! Enjoy! You want real ice cream, instead of frozen yogurt? Help yourself! Chocolate cake? Whoohooo!

Nothing is "good" or "bad" ... no food is "forbidden" any longer!

**** WARNING: If you are on a restricted diet due to HEALTH reasons, PLEASE follow your doctor's orders first! Do not disregard your physician's advice! ****

[these tips taken from the "Thin Within" program (ThinWithin.org) by Judy & Arthur Halliday]


The Lazy Organizer said...

So how do you make Intuitive Eating seem so easy? I really have to work at it! Don't get me wrong because living with Intuitive Eating is about a 1000 times better than my life before it. I've lost 20 pounds and I'm happy about it but I really want to lose 20 more and it doesn't look like that's going to happen any time soon!

Can you get me motivated?

Joye said...

I commented to your comment on my blog, but I am going to pick up the Thin Within book and take it from there. Thanks for the input and encouragement.

mizbooks said...

Lara -- join a support group! The ladies in mine keep me really encouraged and motivated to keep trudging, even when I feel like giving up and going back to my old ways...
The group I belong to can be found at: Thin_Within_Support (Yahoo!)

PS... Intuitive Eating is simpler than other programs I've tried, but it no way do I say it's "Easy"! LOL. I struggle ALL the time to find where that "5" is! "0" is no problem for me, though. :o)

mizbooks said...

Joye -- Glad I could be of some help! :o) Blessings to you, through reading the TW book! :o)

Maria Dunsmore said...

Great blog, keep up the good work, who knows maybe this will take over as the new diet soon(as it should be, the fast food industry would hate that).

Rhonda said...

Just wanted to let you know that this blog is great! I've been toying with IE for a while now. I've read Intuitive Eating, Thin Within and others.

I just started a forum today about Intuitive Eating (still in the "rough" stages) and wondered if you would mind if I posted your blog as a reference source?